Recipe for Japanese Vegetables


1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
2 medium carrots
2 small potatoes
2 onions
4 small leeks
1 green pepper
1/4 lb small mushrooms
1 vegetable oil
1 seven-spice powder


Bring the sauce ingredients to boil and then set aside.

Wash and trim the vegetables. Cut the carrots into 1/2 inch slices and cut the pototoes into small chunks. Peel the onions, then halve and slice into half-moons. Slice the leeks into 1 1/2 inch lengths. Cut the pepper into 1 inch squares. Wipe and trim the mushrooms and remove the stems; cut a cross in each mushroom cap. Soak long bamboo skewers in water. Thread each type of vegetable separately onto them or onto barbecue skewers. Simply skewer the carrots, potatoes, leeks, and green pepper chunks. Lay the onion slices on the table and carefully slide through a skewer to hold the slices together in neat half moons. Slide a skewer horizontally through the mushroom caps. Pat the vegetables with paper towels to ensure that they are perfectly dry and brush them with oil. Preheat the broiler to very hot and broil the vegetables for 1 or 2 minutes, turning occasionally. Brush them thickly with sauce and return to the heat. Continue to broil, brushing 2 or 3 times with sauce, until they are tender. Be careful not to overcook the vegetables so that they become dry. Slide the vegetables off the skewers onto small plates and serve immediately. Sprinkle with a little seven-spice pepper before eating. If available, the following foods are delicious cooked in this way, and very popular in Japan: deep-fried tofu, in cubes; gingko nuts, shelled, boiled, and peeled; quail's eggs, hard boiled; lotus root, in thin slices. *seven-spice powder (shichimi togarashi) is a blend of hot red pepper, ground orange peel, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, poppy seeds, and ground nori seaweed, precisely seven ingredients to make a tasty and complex flavor. It is available at most Asian specialty stores.

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